- Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Samhain Publishing; Reprint edition (January 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1609286669
- ISBN-13: 978-1609286668
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,116,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Obsession Paperback – January 3, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A superior novel of horror.”
-- Publishers Weekly on Obsession
“An ingenious, beautifully crafted tale rooted in the horrors of real world.”
-- The Washington Post on Obsession
“Good horror writers are quite rare, and Campbell is better than just good.”
-- Stephen King
The letters said, “Whatever you most need, I do. The price is something that you do not value and which you may regain.” To four teenagers, it seemed an offer too good to pass up. They filled out the enclosed forms. Indeed, they soon got what they needed most, but in shocking ways they never imagined. Twenty-five years later, they have never been able to forget the horror. But it’s not over yet. In fact, it’s about to get much worse. Now it’s time to pay the price.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A group of friends are faced with a fantastic, impossible scenario: wishing away their adolescent problems. Peter's grandmother has recently moved in, changing he and his family's way of life. Jimmy's father is forever throwing money away at the horse races, even as their little family-run cafe is failing. Steve - a budding communist - faces persecution at school from a teacher because of his beliefs. And Robin's single mother must constantly deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.
These are problems of life. And like all problems, there are no easy answers. Or are there? Because one day, Peter receives in the mail a form and a very simple letter reading the following:
Whatever you most need, I do. The price is something that you do not value and which you may regain.
Thinking the whole matter a hoax, the four friends fill out their forms and make their wishes on a bluff overlooking the coast. However, at an inopportune - and eerie - moment, the forms are all torn from their grasps by the wind and blown out to sea, and they are quick to chalk the whole thing up to exactly what they'd imagined it to be: a prank.
But the wishes come true. In some ways horrible, in others unexpected, but looming behind them all is the second stipulation of the letter: the price. But of course they are children, flexible and adaptable and very willing to forget, which is exactly what they do. Forget, separate, grow up and live their own lives. And, really - could the price be so bad? Especially considering that it would be something that they "do not value"?
However, twenty-five years later, they realize a terrifying truth: that what they value NOW very likely was something they did NOT value when they made the pact. So what they'd have no fear of losing as adolescents...may now be the most important things to them.
As always, Campbell mines feelings and emotions from the deep well of the human condition. And, especially in this work, his supernatural touch is very light. It's there, in the letters and some hauntings, but so much of this novel is about the characters themselves: how their lives may or may not have turned out how they wanted, (Peter's dull, bland life), how they deal with tragedy, (Jimmy's wife's death), adversity, (Steve's marital problems) and illness (Robin's mother slipping deeper into dementia and Alzheimer's). The real horror in this novel is life and mistakes and failure and desperation, which very much lift it above normal horror fare.
This is actually a pretty enjoyable novel, even though it is not altogether original in its theme. It took a while for me to get a handle on the characters because the introductory pages about their youths quickly changed to accounts of their adult lives, introducing new secondary characters such as spouses and children. One thing Campbell excels at is creating exasperating, needy characters who sap the energy out of those trying to care for them. Robin's mother is almost unbearable in her dementia and interference in her daughter's life, and for this reason I felt a stronger connection with Robin than with the three male characters at the heart of the story. Jimmy's children, on the other hand, seemed somewhat unreal and never came across as more than shadows of themselves.
The horror content here is pretty low, really. Peter is haunted by images such as that of his dead grandmother, whose whispers to him in the dark can be a tad unnerving, but the other characters dealt with thoroughly real-world problems. Personally, I would have welcomed just a little more information about the nature of the original letter behind everything that happened; Campbell's final revelation about its source was a little confusing, but this may be a good thing because otherwise it might have impressed me as somewhat trite in nature. Overall, I found Obsession a rather enjoyable read. Campbell is an unquestionably skilled writer with a unique voice. Just don't pick this up expecting to be terrified or treated to some kind of Faustian tale of sin and punishment. Campbell's fictional horror is taken from real life for the most part, and that is one of the reasons why he is often deservedly hailed as a master craftsman of psychological horror.
Three years later, I finally picked it up, and found a decent book before me. The narrative is well written, and the story has an okay pace. The best part about this book is that nothing in it is gratuitious - a welcome change in any book. Sex and death are mentioned in passing, and don't take up far too many paragraphs - very well done.
My biggest issue with this book is logic - I always look for logic, and there are a few things that rub me the wrong way. I won't mention them, due to spoilers, but I am still asking questions about events that occurred in the middle of the novel days after I finished reading it.
All in all, it's a decent book, that I wound neither recommend reading nor recommend not reading.